skip to content

eth Namespace

Last edited on December 1, 2022

Documentation for the API methods in the eth namespace can be found on ethereum.org. Geth provides several extensions to the standard "eth" JSON-RPC namespace that are defined below.

eth_subscribe, eth_unsubscribe

These methods are used for real-time events through subscriptions. See the subscription documentation for more information.


Executes a new message call immediately, without creating a transaction on the block chain. The eth_call method can be used to query internal contract state, to execute validations coded into a contract or even to test what the effect of a transaction would be without running it live.


The method takes 3 parameters: an unsigned transaction object to execute in read-only mode; the block number to execute the call against; and an optional state override-set to allow executing the call against a modified chain state.

1. Object - Transaction call object

The transaction call object is mandatory. Please see here for details.

2. Quantity | Tag - Block number or the string latest or pending

The block number is mandatory and defines the context (state) against which the specified transaction should be executed. It is not possible to execute calls against reorged blocks; or blocks older than 128 (unless the node is an archive node).

3. Object - State override set

The state override set is an optional address-to-state mapping, where each entry specifies some state to be ephemerally overridden prior to executing the call. Each address maps to an object containing:

balanceQuantity<32YesFake balance to set for the account before executing the call.
nonceQuantity<8YesFake nonce to set for the account before executing the call.
codeBinaryanyYesFake EVM bytecode to inject into the account before executing the call.
stateObjectanyYesFake key-value mapping to override all slots in the account storage before executing the call.
stateDiffObjectanyYesFake key-value mapping to override individual slots in the account storage before executing the call.

The goal of the state override set is manyfold:

  • It can be used by DApps to reduce the amount of contract code needed to be deployed on chain. Code that simply returns internal state or does pre-defined validations can be kept off chain and fed to the node on-demand.

  • It can be used for smart contract analysis by extending the code deployed on chain with custom methods and invoking them. This avoids having to download and reconstruct the entire state in a sandbox to run custom code against.

  • It can be used to debug smart contracts in an already deployed large suite of contracts by selectively overriding some code or state and seeing how execution changes. Specialized tooling will probably be necessary.


  "0xd9c9cd5f6779558b6e0ed4e6acf6b1947e7fa1f3": {
    "balance": "0xde0b6b3a7640000"
  "0xebe8efa441b9302a0d7eaecc277c09d20d684540": {
    "code": "0x...",
    "state": {

Return Values

The method returns a single Binary consisting the return value of the executed contract call.

Simple example

note that this example uses the Rinkeby network, which is now deprecated

With a synced Rinkeby node with RPC exposed on localhost (geth --rinkeby --http) we can make a call against the CheckpointOracle to retrieve the list of administrators:

$ curl --data '{"method":"eth_call","params":[{"to":"0xebe8efa441b9302a0d7eaecc277c09d20d684540","data":"0x45848dfc"},"latest"],"id":1,"jsonrpc":"2.0"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST localhost:8545

And the result is an Ethereum ABI encoded list of accounts:

  "id": 1,
  "jsonrpc": "2.0",
  "result": "0x00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000200000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000004000000000000000000000000d9c9cd5f6779558b6e0ed4e6acf6b1947e7fa1f300000000000000000000000078d1ad571a1a09d60d9bbf25894b44e4c8859595000000000000000000000000286834935f4a8cfb4ff4c77d5770c2775ae2b0e7000000000000000000000000b86e2b0ab5a4b1373e40c51a7c712c70ba2f9f8e"

Just for the sake of completeness, decoded the response is:


Override example

The above simple example showed how to call a method already exposed by an on-chain smart contract. What if we want to access some data not exposed by it?

We can gut out the original checkpoint oracle contract with one that retains the same fields (to retain the same storage layout), but one that includes a different method set:

pragma solidity ^0.5.10;

contract CheckpointOracle {
    mapping(address => bool) admins;
    address[] adminList;
    uint64 sectionIndex;
    uint height;
    bytes32 hash;
    uint sectionSize;
    uint processConfirms;
    uint threshold;

    function VotingThreshold() public view returns (uint) {
        return threshold;

With a synced Rinkeby node with RPC exposed on localhost (geth --rinkeby --http) we can make a call against the live Checkpoint Oracle, but override its byte code with our own version that has an accessor for the voting threshold field:

$ curl --data '{"method":"eth_call","params":[{"to":"0xebe8efa441b9302a0d7eaecc277c09d20d684540","data":"0x0be5b6ba"}, "latest", {"0xebe8efa441b9302a0d7eaecc277c09d20d684540": {"code":"0x6080604052348015600f57600080fd5b506004361060285760003560e01c80630be5b6ba14602d575b600080fd5b60336045565b60408051918252519081900360200190f35b6007549056fea265627a7a723058206f26bd0433456354d8d1228d8fe524678a8aeeb0594851395bdbd35efc2a65f164736f6c634300050a0032"}}],"id":1,"jsonrpc":"2.0"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST localhost:8545

And the result is the Ethereum ABI encoded threshold number:

  "id": 1,
  "jsonrpc": "2.0",
  "result": "0x0000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000002"

Just for the sake of completeness, decoded the response is: 2.


This method creates an EIP2930 type accessList based on a given Transaction. The accessList contains all storage slots and addresses read and written by the transaction, except for the sender account and the precompiles. This method uses the same transaction call object and blockNumberOrTag object as eth_call. An accessList can be used to unstuck contracts that became inaccessible due to gas cost increases.


transactionObjectTransactionCall object
blockNumberOrTagObjectOptional, blocknumber or latest or pending


curl --data '{"method":"eth_createAccessList","params":[{"from": "0x8cd02c6cbd8375b39b06577f8d50c51d86e8d5cd", "data": "0x608060806080608155"}, "pending"],"id":1,"jsonrpc":"2.0"}' -H "Content-Type: application/json" -X POST localhost:8545


The method eth_createAccessList returns list of addresses and storage keys used by the transaction, plus the gas consumed when the access list is added.

That is, it gives the list of addresses and storage keys that will be used by that transaction, plus the gas consumed if the access list is included. Like eth_estimateGas, this is an estimation; the list could change when the transaction is actually mined. Adding an accessList to a transaction does not necessary result in lower gas usage compared to a transaction without an access list.


  "accessList": [
      "address": "0xa02457e5dfd32bda5fc7e1f1b008aa5979568150",
      "storageKeys": [
  "gasUsed": "0x125f8"


© 2013–2023. The go-ethereum Authors | Do-not-Track